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Some cults of Greek goddesses and female daemons of oriental origin: especially in relation to the mythology of goddesses and demons in the Semitic world

West, David Reid (1990) Some cults of Greek goddesses and female daemons of oriental origin: especially in relation to the mythology of goddesses and demons in the Semitic world. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

In Chapter One we discuss the evidence for Mycenaean trade and colonisation in the Orient, and for oriental trade and colonisation in the Aegean and Greece. We begin with such subjects as archaeological artefacts, artistic motifs and styles of architecture, then consider the linguistic evidence, such as toponyms, personal names and the LA tablets. The evidence for contact is overwhelming. In Chapter Two we consider the evidence for Semitic motifs in the iconography, mythology and names of Greek goddesses connected with nature. Thus Semitic influence is clear in the case of Artemis and Rhea as lion-goddesses, Britomartis as a `Mistress of the Beasts', Leto as a goddess of the sacred palm, and Demeter as a mare-goddess. Reha seems to be partly Anatolian. Chapter Three is concerned with the goddess Athena and other avian daemons. We begin (Section A) by discussing the oriental origins of Athena's owl, snake, aegis and Gorgon, relying mainly upon the evidence of iconography. Then (Section B) we consider three epithets of Athena which seem very Semitic. Finally (Section C) we discuss the sirens, which are avian demonesses somewhat reminiscent of Athena's chthonian character. In Chapter Four we first analyse (Section A) as much of the character of the goddess Hekate as possible, in both iconography and literature. It is clear that Hekate is a very demonic goddess. Then (Section B) we discuss various theories concerning the origin of Hekate. The Anatolian theories in particular are unconvincing. The Semitic origin of Hekate is tested (Section C) with reference to the character and motifs of both E-S and W-S demons and demonesses. It is concluded that Hekate is an evolute of Lamashtu. Finally (Section D) other Greek chthonian daemons (e.g. Mormo, Empousa, Gello) are compared with both Hekate and Lamashtu. Some (e.g. Mormo, Empousa) are Greek daemons with Semitic motifs in their characters. We conclude that Lamia is another evolute of Lamashtu, and that Gello is derived from the Mesopotamian Gallu demon.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Supervisor, not known
Date of Award: 1990
Depositing User: Elaine Ballantyne
Unique ID: glathesis:1990-1263
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2009
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:36
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/1263

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